Imagine getting the idea one day to sell everything
you own, take the money to Las Vegas, and
bet it all on a single spin of the roulette
It sounds crazy.
The risk of losing is very real, and you could
very well be walking away with just the clothes
on your back.
In fact, the chance of winning in an all-or-nothing
red/black bet on an American roulette wheel
is 47.3% (48.6% if playing on a European wheel).
Ashley Revell of the United Kingdom decided
to take that risk when he sold everything
he owned and bet the resulting £76,840 (about
£105,400 or $164,286 today) on red in Las
Vegas during April of 2004.
Thirty-two year old Ashley Revell’s journey
to risking his life savings in Vegas began,
by his own admission, over drinks in a pub
One friend brought up the idea of betting
everything on a single spin of the roulette
wheel, and the slightly inebriated group agreed
it sounded like a good idea.
Despite the conversation being alcohol induced,
the next day, the idea still stuck out in
He later told the Telegraph, “I thought
what an amazing experience it [betting all
of his money] would be.
At the time I wasn’t married, I didn’t
I was completely single.
It was now or never.”
It should not be surprising that not everybody
supported his plan, and both of his parents
opposed the idea.
Revell’s father, Mick, told his son that
he was a “naught boy”, that he shouldn’t
go through with it, and “He should work
like all the other kids do.”
Ashley spent time convincing them to support
him in the endeavor.
His father caved first, but his mother took
a bit more persuasion before agreeing to support
So he took the next step and began selling
all of his possessions and raising a bit of
extra cash any way he could.
His BMW car, a Rolex watch, golf clubs, and
even sentimental items were either sold at
auction or during boot (trunk) sales.
Some items were harder for him to part with
than others, especially soccer trophies and
a cricket jumper he received while playing
in high school.
Afterwards, Revell admitted he regretted selling
Eventually a television crew from the British
TV channel Sky One heard about his plan and
created a TV mini-series titled Double or
Tallying it all up, after selling everything
and acquiring funds from other sources such
as being sponsored to change his name to “Ashley
Blue Square Revell” by a UK online bookmaker,
he managed to compile a very respectable total
With the money in the bank ready to be wired
over, he boarded a flight for Las Vegas with
the camera crew, his friends, and parents
He didn’t even technically have the clothes
on his back at this point as what he was wearing
was a tuxedo he rented specifically for the
Plans to place the bet at the Hard Rock Hotel
fell through after negotiations broke down
with the casino.
However, the owners of the Plaza Hotel and
Casino seized the opportunity for publicity
and agreed to host the roulette game, though
directly before he placed his bet told him
that they did not advise that anyone, including
him, go through with something like this.
Despite the risk, the night before making
the life-changing bet, Revell slept well and
later said did not doubt his decision to go
through with it.
Despite the odds technically being slightly
against him, he stated, “Thinking back it
seems crazy but I was so convinced I was going
I was literally going down there to collect
However, he still had not decided the answer
to an important question: would he bet everything
on black or on red?
He waited most of the morning for a sign telling
him which to choose but none came.
In the end, according to Revell, directly
after the ball began to spin, “The first
thing that came into my head was red, so I
just pushed all my chips forward.”
With many family and friends there with him
watching, along with the audience of Sky One‘s
show back home, the ball circled the board
before landing on a number- seven, a red color.
Revell had doubled his money on one spin,
giving him £153,680 (about £210,800 or $328,572
He admitted after the experience that, “… it
was a mad thing to do.
And I’m thinking back now about what would
have happened if I lost.
I’d have had nothing to go back to, nothing
But I’d still have my friends, my family,
and they’d always be there for me.
So they gave me the security to be able to
Unlike most who win big in gambling, Ashley
decided that tempting fate once was enough
He declined to bet a second time and cashed
in his chips at the table and walked away.
As for what happened after, Revell spent a
small portion of his winnings on a motorcycle
trip around Europe, where he met a girl while
“I took her back to England with me, we
married and now we’ve got two children.
You could say I have my bet to thank for finding
me a wife.
One of the many viewers who watched Ashley
Revell on the Sky One television program was
Cowell was inspired by Revell’s all or nothing
the television game show
called Red or Black.